Why Today’s Music Sounds Like Shit

An interesting article over at Rolling Stone about the actual dynamic and sonic quality of music being produced these days.When I was in school 10 years ago (my God, has it been that long?) our instructors were complaining about how remastered releases at the time, which were supposed to offer the highest audio quality consumer technology could offer, had all the dynamics and life squeezed out of it. Little did they know how much worse it would get with the introduction of the mp3. Well maybe some of them did.

Over the past decade and a half, a revolution in recording technology has changed the way albums are produced, mixed and mastered — almost always for the worse. “They make it loud to get [listeners’] attention,” Bendeth says. Engineers do that by applying dynamic range compression, which reduces the difference between the loudest and softest sounds in a song. Like many of his peers, Bendeth believes that relying too much on this effect can obscure sonic detail, rob music of its emotional power and leave listeners with what engineers call ear fatigue. “I think most everything is mastered a little too loud,” Bendeth says. “The industry decided that it’s a volume contest.”

Read more.

If this is over your head and you don’t feel like taking the time to sift through it, please watch this short video to help illustrate the “loudness war” and explain what the article is getting at.